Dec 18, 2020 | Featured

Toothaker Awarded Chancellor’s Commendation for Military Veterans

Bobby Toothaker, Columbia State Williamson Campus facility support specialist, was presented a special TBR Challenge Coin from Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president on behalf of the chancellor.

Bobby Toothaker, Columbia State Community College Williamson Campus facility services coordinator and U.S. Army veteran, was awarded the inaugural Chancellor’s Commendation for Military Veterans.

The Tennessee Board of Regents and Chancellor Flora W. Tydings established the new commendation as a system-level award to honor the service, bravery and sacrifices of military veterans in the campus communities. Toothaker was one of 35 Tennesseans to receive the Commendation.

“Bobby helps make the environment for our students a better place,” said Dr. Dearl Lampley, Columbia State vice president for Williamson Campus and external services. “As he makes his rounds on campus, he talks to people and builds relationships — especially with our veteran students. He uses his disarming art of conversation to draw veteran students into comradery, shows them where the Veteran Study Room is located and helps them connect to each other. He also encourages them to get involved in the Student Veteran Organization.”

“I was a student veteran myself so I understand the struggles that come along with that,” Toothaker said. “I am honored to help people find their way and to let them know someone is there for them and understands where they are and what they are going through.”

Toothaker has been a co-advisor for the SVO for the last four academic years. During his time working with the SVO, students have had the opportunity to attend two Student Veterans of America NATCON events, offer a suicide prevention event to emergency medical personnel, volunteer with a community veteran’s fundraiser and help conduct two Veteran History Project events with the Library of Congress. 

Before coming to Columbia State, Toothaker spent more than 11 years in the U.S. Army. He was a non-commissioned officer, providing both oversight and mentorship for young soldiers while serving in combat and intelligence deployments.

“I am honored to have served my country and to have the opportunity to serve Columbia State and student veterans in the capacity that I do,” Toothaker said. “I am honored to be recognized for this award.”

Toothaker was presented a special TBR Challenge Coin from Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, on behalf of the chancellor. Challenge coins are a rich tradition in all branches of the military and signify special achievement, excellence, hard work, unit pride, respect and esprit de corps.

“It was my honor today to recognize Bobby Toothaker for the work he does at Columbia State with our student body,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “The individual that Columbia State recognizes is one that is recommended by faculty and staff. Bobby’s recommendations talked about the time he gives to our students and our Student Veterans Organization. He represents the best of Columbia State.”

View the full list of Commendation recipients here at


TBR Challenge Coin


TBR Challenge Coin